Starfield has finally been revealed, and it looks like Bethesda’s long-awaited sci-fi RPG will reintroduce a mechanic from the Elder Scrolls series that hasn’t appeared since 1996’s Daggerfall.
As shown during the Starfield game reveal on Xbox and Bethesda Showcase, and seen by an observant fan on reddit (opens in new tab), the space RPG seems to include some sort of mortgage system. The feature was briefly mentioned when director Todd Howard walked through the game’s character customization features and discussed various personal traits that can be selected for “unique advantages and disadvantages”.
One of them is titled Starter Home. “You own a tiny house on a peaceful little moon, but it comes with a 50,000 credit mortgage with GalBank,” reads the dash description.
The mention of mortgages usually doesn’t arouse much emotion, but the financial system has a historical history throughout the Elder Scrolls series. Daggerfall included a surprisingly robust banking system that allowed you to deposit gold into an account, buy items carrying a letter of credit, buy and sell homes, and even take out loans at an interest rate of 10%. If you went into default, your regional reputation would decline until you improved your financial situation.
The mortgage system has been dropped for future Elder Scrolls games, although The Elder Scrolls Online has banks that can be used to store gold and items. Several mods have also been created for Skyrim that add entire banking systems, covering loans, debt repayments, and savings accounts. Check out Bordeciel Bank Mod (BBM) or Google’s Imperial Bank if you like that.
That Starfield involves some sort of credit and debt system shouldn’t be too surprising. Bethesda is pitching the game as a grounded, realistic vision of an interstellar human future, even outlining the game’s features. aesthetic like NASA-punk (opens in new tab). And what better way to create “a future that is believable and, while not always the most welcoming, at least familiar” than by adding a touch of rentier capitalism to your world.
Starter Home isn’t the only personal trait that caught our eye. A list of 16 features was shown during Starfield’s first gameplay trailer, with the player being able to choose three in total. Among them were the most typical default personality traits – introverts and extroverts – as well as more universe-specific options.
You have the option to imbue yourself with alien DNA and acclimate to the zero gravity of space for a stat boost. You can also change how and where your character grew up, which can grant you extra dialogue options and rewards when interacting with specific factions.
Elsewhere on the character creation side, you can customize your character’s appearance by changing the body and face shape using a variety of sliders and presets. Character Backgrounds, meanwhile, will send you out into the universe with three starting abilities. They allow you to customize your character’s abilities, such as improving the damage of specific types of weapons, forcing weaker enemies to ceasefire, or increasing your chance to persuade NPCs during dialogue.
While the excitement around the game is swirling, TRG’s editor-in-chief believes Starfield is already losing the space race and needs to do more to really shine among existing space RPGs. It might not be long before we get our hands on the game, as Xbox Game Pass suggests that Starfield will release early next year.